We love the magnetic letters that you can find at the Dollar Store, but have yet to find a lowercase version. A benefit of making something yourself, you can personalize it. We had made some crafts with the little glass beads, but I thought the river rocks would make a better compliment to this craft since they are a bit larger. We made stones with upper and lower case letters for a matching game.
Kids Can Help Gather the Materials!
What you need to make your own: river rocks, alphabet paper, Mod Podge, a storage container.
Tips: I recommend washing the rocks before getting started to remove any little particles that will mark up the paper or make it harder to stick. A bucket of soapy water and a toothbrush work well, and little ones can help. You can print the alphabet we used here. We used card stock for our first batch. Though it held up well to the glue, it doesn't flatten to the rock as well as thinner paper, which makes a better finished product.
We also started with Elmer's glue, but finished with Mod Podge to protect the letters. Mod Podge would work for the entire process.
Kids Can Play!
Make them into magnets if you like, or make extra for spelling more words.
Games and Variations:
Matching Game: Give your child a mixed set of letter pairs, including the upper and lowercase versions of each letter chosen. Ask him or her to pick an upper case letter from the ones included. Then ask him or her to pick which lowercase letter matches. Limit the number of letters included in the game as to not be overwhelming or offer more choices than he or she can handle.
Name Spelling: Another game perfect for the alphabet - give your child the letters in his or her name and ask him or her to put them in the correct order. This is easiest with all uppercase letters starting out, then uppercase for only the first letter.
Sight Word Spelling: Has your child mastered his or her name? Move on to spelling beginning sight words. Sight words, high frequency, or popcorn words (because they pop up everywhere) are common words that children are encouraged to know by sight. Knowing these words gives young readers an advantage, especially since many of them do not follow regular phonetic rules.
Sight Word Stones: To get started with high frequency words, you could write a sight word on an individual stone. These can be found on flashcards, but you can customize them to include words that are most relevant to your child, like his or her name. Our list is below, and there are many lists on the internet if you would like more words.
Kindergarten Level High Frequency Words: a, am, and, at, away, be, big, by, can cat come dad do dog down find, for, go, he, here, I, in,is, it, like, look, love, make, me, mom, my, no, not, put, said, see, she, the, this, to, up, we, where, will, yes, you.